President Donald J. Trump. It shouldn’t come as a shock, but to many people around the world it has. They believed it was impossible, when it never really was. Now, with emotions running high, they’re looking for answers. Anyone wondering how this could happen first needs to ask themselves why they were so convinced it couldn’t.
From the outset, Trump’s campaign was never taken seriously by the liberal media, which, if we’re being honest, is the majority of major networks. Even after he beat 16 other candidates (the largest field in American history) to win the primary and secure the Republican nomination, he remained a punchline. The idea of a billionaire reality TV star becoming president seemed so ludicrous that any journalists willing to give credence to the idea risked damaging their own credibility. Still, they hung on every word Trump said. Their main concern is viewership and, boy, do people love a good controversy. From Trump’s standpoint, no publicity was bad publicity.
Many of Hillary Clinton’s supporters voted for her with a single issue in mind: they wanted to see a woman become president. If we can acknowledge that fact, then we must also recognise that many of Trump’s supporters may have voted for him with a single issue in mind as well. They may believe Trump will help get them a better job, better health insurance, or lower their taxes. For someone struggling to make ends meet, these issues will undoubtedly feel more pressing than simply electing a woman president just because she is a woman. It doesn’t make them sexist. Not every vote for Trump was a vote to stop a woman from becoming president.
The last year has revealed bitter divisions in the United States. For a country founded on the grounds that “all men are created equal”, it’s hard to accept that feelings of racism, sexism and xenophobia are still alive and well. The election helped shine a light on a level of discrimination that has always existed. With that said, we shouldn’t automatically judge the character of others based on who they voted for. To assume every word out of Trump’s mouth is a reflection of someone else’s morals and values is an oversimplification.
Another thing that people still can’t seem to fathom how the pollsters’ predictions were so wrong. A major factor in the Trump phenomenon is the millions of people who planned on voting for him but, for fear of being crucified, wouldn’t admit it. If they wouldn’t even tell their family and friends, why would they tell a stranger conducting a survey?
Clinton’s campaign put a huge emphasis on celebrity endorsements – several were so sure she would win, they vowed to leave the country if she didn’t. When it seemed like everyone on TV was voting for Clinton, it started to feel like everyone was voting for Clinton. This tactic may have worked on 18-24 year olds, but for the millions of unemployed workers around the country fed up with Washington and Wall Street, listening to Beyoncé and Jay-Z tell them who to vote for may have only emboldened them to vote for Trump.
Like it or not, Donald Trump will be president for at least the next four years. Part of living in a democracy is accepting the results of an election and, if Trump isn’t at least given a fair chance, we’ll all be doomed from the start. Hopefully, he will focus on his promises to unite the country, and leave his divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail.
I’ve always wanted to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and I finally got around to starting a few days ago. It felt appropriate while I’m in England. There’s a quote about the role of President of the Imperial Galactic Government that feels extremely relevant. “[…] the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.” Sound like anyone?